Botswana. In January, the San people (basarwa) in the Kalahari Desert won an important victory in the multi-year water rights dispute in an area where diamond drilling was conducted. A hardship in the lower court the year before had been appealed, and the Court of Appeal now gave the San people the right to their former water source and also the right to drill new wells in the reserve in the Kalahari desert that the San people had been rejected from since 2002. The Court criticized the government’s treatment of the San people and termed it as degrading..
According to Countryaah official site, President Ian Khama was accused by the opposition of growing power, and he faced the strongest protest against his government so far this year. In April, a strike broke out among public employees who did not receive pay increases in three years, while inflation pushed up prices. A total of 97,000 employees took part in the strike, which became the longest and bitterest labor dispute in the country’s history.
The Khamar government took a hard line and rejected, among other things, the country’s church council’s attempts to mediate in the conflict. Most health clinics, as well as the large hospital in the capital Gaborone, closed most of their operations. Most schools also closed. A court ordered the necessary staff to work, and the government dismissed hundreds of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and cleaners who defied the court’s ruling. While the unions initially demanded a 16% pay rise and then 12%, the government offered only 3%. Negotiations broke down and in June the unions were forced to accept 3% with the promise of more, should the country’s economy improve.
As a result of the strike, talks in the autumn between the political opposition parties became unified before the 2014 elections with joint lists in the parliamentary elections and joint presidential candidate to challenge Khama.
During the year, Botswana invested in technological development in rural areas to curb the move from the villages to Gaborone. In collaboration with private mobile operators, for example, close to 200 villages will receive communication services, where the center with computers, the Internet and telecommunications services is operated by local entrepreneurs on a franchise basis and can be used by local entrepreneurs and students.
During the Arab Spring at the beginning of the year, Botswana severed diplomatic relations with Libya. Botswana’s foreign minister also felt that the African Union (AU) was too quiet in connection with the riots in North Africa.
Former President Festus Mogae called for the decriminalization of homosexuality and prostitution during the year to curb the widespread spread of HIV in Botswana. Mogae, who heads the government’s Anti-AIDS Council, said it is difficult to promote safe sex when homosexuality and prostitution are illegal. He also suggested that condoms should be distributed in prisons. Mogae’s statements were controversial in a country with a strong dislike of homosexuality and prostitution.